I spent the Christmas break with a very special guest, the latest model of the Linde Werdelin Oktopus Double Date, crafted from multi-layer carbon, with gold coloured accents and a bright green natural rubber strap. Before going into more details about the watch, let me introduce you the Linde Werdelin, a brand that we don’t see often here in Canada — their only Canadian AD is L’Oro in Toronto.
The cornerstone of the company is a longtime friendship between two Danes, Morten Linde and Jorn Werdelin. While Jorn Werdelin studied business in London and ended up working as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley and the Lehman Brothers, Morten Linde became an industrial designer and founded his design company where he worked with Bang & Olufsen, TAG Heuer and the Danish watch brand Georg Jensen, just to name a few.
They both shared a love for watches, and a desire of creating high-end sports watches, as well as skiing and diving instruments. The company was founded in 2002 based on the concept that analogue is the best way to read time and digital is perfect for assimilating technical details. According to this philosophy, nobody is using analogue watches for diving, for that you need a digital instrument, a diving computer, but when it comes to reading the time, the analogue watch is still the best way to do it. Linde came up with a case design for the watches that permits the user to add an instrument, such as the Linde Werdelin (LW) Rock, used for off-piste skiing, or the LW diving computer, The Reef. This concept predates any smartwatch by more than a decade and I find it to be the ideal solution for a luxury watch, as it doesn’t try to mix the two worlds.
LW has two main collections, the Spido, inspired by speed, be that of a racing car or of an off-piste skier, and the Oktopus which is clearly a diving collection. The both share a very strong design identity: bold proportions, angular, faceted surfaces, unapologetic colour combinations and an unusual blend of high-tech materials — always trying out something new. This spirit of experimenting and exploring new solutions is reflected even in the name of their blog, The Lab. A great place to find fascinating behind-the-scenes info about LW.
The Oktopus Double Date made its first appearance in 2012 at Baselworld. These early models are using the same design and are powered by the same modified Dubois Dépraz automatic calibre 14580, as the new Carbon – Green. What makes the new model different, is the choice of materials — carbon fibre, instead of titanium or rose gold, and the use of bright green, instead of blue accents, yellow or the bright red introduced in the 2013 model.
The Oktopus Double Date Carbon – Green is my first encounter with a Linde Werdeling timepiece, and I’m really glad that I had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks with it. It is a watch that will reveal its secrets slowly, every day I would discover a new feature. The first thing I noticed is that the Oktopus is a completely different beast compared to other watches. While most of the watches, as objects of design, are mainly interesting because of their dial, with the Oktopus, the story is a lot more complex: the case, the crown, not just the dial, even the rubber strap have a lot to reveal. The dimensions of the case are not exaggerated, 44mm x 46mm x 15mm is enough to have a significant presence on the wrist, without being cumbersome to wear. Even on my small wrist, it never felt weird or uncomfortable. I was a bit worried about the straight lines and angles, will it feel too rigid, but no, there is nothing spartan about wearing the Oktopus, there are no sharp or hurtful corners. This comfort comes not just from the shape of the case, having been crafted from carbon composite also helps in making it an easy wearer.
The dark grey colour of the case and its faceted shape, remind me of a masterfully cut precious stone, and probably because I got infected with the Star Wars mania, I can’t help but also see a miniature Galactic Empire starship. The complex geometric structure of the case is obtained using 3-Dimensional Thin Ply – a proprietary method of sculpting micro carbon fibres, resulting in finely-grooved facets and a subtle sheen. The way LW is working with the carbon fibre gives the Oktopus Double Date an organic appearance. It is organic in an organised, thought-out, designed manner, there is nothing random or stray about it.
The top of the black ceramic bezel has a satin finish while its outer side is polished. On a diver watch, you would expect to find a rotating bezel, but not on the Oktopus, which makes total sense considering that under water, the Oktopus would only serve as a support for the LW diving computer. The bezel is secured with eight screws and if you take a closer look, you will notice that the gaskets are matching the colour of the strap.
The screws, the crown and the back of the watch have a unique colour that LW calls champaign gold, personally I find it to be closer to the colour of bronze, which for me it reinforces the diving theme of the watch. These “bronze” parts are actually made from titanium and they are treated with Titanium nitride (TiN) ceramic coating. TiN is a super hard ceramic material, often used to harden and protect cutting and sliding surfaces — think medical implants. In the case of the Oktopus, TiN is more than just a hard surface, it also looks gorgeous.
When it comes to the crown, it is really easy to operate. Not just because the shape and size of the crown, but also look at that crown protector: how it is positioned compared to the crown, how that curved opening on the top allows you to have a good grip of the crown. Every little detail is conceived to be functional and in the same time because of the way LW worked the carbon fibre, the result is beautiful.
The dial is another stroke of genius, there are so many things to look at, and all this action is not distracting from what is important, reading the time. Green luminant is used for the three large numerals, at three, six and nine o’clock; printed with a large, squarish, typical Linde Werdelin font. 12 o’clock is dominated by the double date display. We all had this “Oh, no… I have to adjust the date” moment with our watches. With the Oktopus Double Date, changing the date is actually a lot of fun, thanks to the skeleton dial that reveals the two discs working together to display the date. The two date discs are TiN treated, and they are rotating above the DLC-coated movement plate.
The titanium coloured hands are highly visible thanks to their satin finish and luminous coating. The shape of the minutes hand is echoed in the design of the five-layer skeletonized dial. From the centre of the dial, sunray-like spokes run towards the bottom hour indexes. The top dial is semi-matte and it has a circular satin finish. Underneath, the dial plate is also semi-matte, but with a circular Côte de Genève finish.
As you would expect from a diving watch of this calibre, the Oktopus Double Date works superbly in low light. As I mentioned earlier, the numerals are green, just as the hands, while the indexes and the LW logo, between 7 and 8 o’clock, are glowing in blue.
The bright green natural rubber strap complements nicely the Oktopus Double Date Carbon. It gives the watch a daredevil allure, although if you want to tone it down, you can change it to another LW strap. In their online shop, LW is offering a large selection of straps and bracelets, I could image the Oktopus Double Date Carbon — Green looking fantastic on their DLC bracelet, or on the textured calfskin strap with green stitching.
Spending the past two weeks with the Linde Werdelin Oktopus Double Date Carbon – Green was an eye opener for me. Without diminishing its horological merits, for me, it was mainly a fantastic lesson on industrial design. It was the first watch, for which part of the review process was to get a sketchbook and a pencil. I tried to uncover and understand its secrets, the little details and their role in making the final product such an outstanding watch, by drawing it. This exercise made me realise just how much the Oktopus Double Date has to offer.
If you a regular reader of WatchPaper, you know TimeCaptain and his passion for Panerai. When he saw the Green Oktopus, he fell in love instantly and I understood where is Linde Werdelin’s market. This is a watch for guys who like bold designs, who have an audacious style. They might have a Panerai or two in their collection, they might also be a fan of Hublot, but they want something else to add to their collection, they want something special, something to satisfy their devil-may-care attitude. When a watch is limited to 88 pieces, they don’t have to worry about finding it on every other person’s wrist. With the Oktopus Double Date Carbon – Green, they tick off many checkboxes: high-end movement, great industrial design, high-tech materials and exclusivity. You can’t mistake a Linde Werdelin with another brand. Those who know, will recognise it from a mile, for the rest… You don’t have to worry about them.
The Linde Werdelin Oktopus Double Date Carbon – Green retails for CHF15,000, which comes to roughly $20,000 CAD, and you can order it from the nearest AD, or get it directly from the Linde Werdelin online boutique.
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